Saturday, July 1, 2017

Becoming a Utah Driver...

I finally got my Utah driver's license squared away a couple of weeks ago. We've been living here for a little more than two years and I finally, just this last month, got my driver's license. Because I procrastinated, sure, but also because the ID laws here (and apparently everywhere, now) are a big old pain the ass. Even then I only did so because my Texas license was expiring and they wouldn't let me renew it. Turns out Texas wants you to live there if you're going to be licensed there. Go figure.

When I moved to Texas all I had to do was give them my California driver's license and they gave me a Texas license. That was in 1999, the good old days, when things were less complicated. Now, since 2010 apparently, ID laws require that you show them your birth certificate and every single change in name you've ever had. With certified documentation to prove it. They don't want you going home and whipping up some documents, which I guess makes sense. 

Here's the thing. My birth certificate, which my folks were kind enough to get and mail me, says my last name was Rhodes. My marriage license to Matt says my last name was Knight. So, when I went to get this taken care of, they took one look at my documents and reject them.

"How did you get from Rhodes to Knight?" the clerk asked. She looked a little confused. 

"In a nutshell, I was married to this dude for like a second, a zillion years ago..." I explained.

"Gonna need to show that," she told me. "Get the paperwork and come back."

So, that's what I worked on doing. That turned out to be easier said than done. In order to prove my identity, I needed a birth certificate, a certified marriage license to my first husband, certified divorce decree, a certified marriage license to my now husband, and my Texas driver's license. Oh, and two pieces of not-junk mail to establish my residency. 

When I contacted California about getting my marriage license, they said it would take up to six months to get one. Six months. It had been the same thing with my birth certificate, which is why my folks went and got it. But, only parties to a marriage can acquire certified marriage licenses, so they couldn't really get that. And, I didn't have six months. My license was going to expire in a third of that time. I might have had six months when we moved here two years ago, but I didn't want to give up my Texas license, so I wasn't doing it. Now, I had this tiny window in which to get all these papers. 

So, I did what any desperate person would do. I bit the bullet and asked my ex if he had copies. This was awkward. I knew it would be, but I didn't see any other choice. Considering that we've literally only spoken twice since I left him all those years ago, it was tough to summon up the nerve to ask him to lend me our marriage license and divorce decree. But, I figured we're all adults and we've all moved on.

He said he would look for them and get back to me. But, then he didn't get back to me at all and when I followed up with him... silence. Since I had put off ordering them in case he might have them, I was a little bit concerned. My window was closing... quickly. When I didn't hear anything for a month, I went ahead and ordered the paperwork from California.

The divorce decree was the easy part. All I had to do was send them a letter of request, a check, and a self addressed, stamped envelope. I used Vital Check to get the certified marriage license, but that involved me giving them notarized paperwork and a copy of my current driver's license. 

Once I had all of that on order, the strangest thing happened... my ex sent me a message, told me had found the papers, and that he would lend them to me if I promised to give them back. He also kindly told me that I could order them from California so I would have copies for myself, for the future. Which, of course, I already knew because I had literally just done that. I thanked him and asked that he send them because I figured I'd get his papers in the mail quicker than I got the paperwork from CA.

Turns out, California is quicker than they said they would be. I got his papers within a day or so of getting the ones I had ordered from California. I promptly used them and mailed his papers back to him. Crisis--my DL expiring on my birthday--averted and it only cost me a little sanity and a little humility.

So, I'll have my Utah driver's license in hand in a couple of weeks. Even though I resisted, it feels good getting it taken care of. You should have seen the fiasco trying to register to vote without a state license. A story for another time. 

My first TX DL after moving to Waco--man I looked young! They cut the top off when we moved to a new city and I got a new license. Here in Utah, they just hole punch to invalidate.